Thursday, February 04, 2010

My Novel's Journey: Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator: Origins

Since my computer snafu and subsequent loss of Gapman and Discovery, I decided to forge ahead with a novel I started on New Year's Day: Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.

I have to credit this novel with The Writers' Chat Room, A bunch of writers of all experience levels, genres and interests meet in the chat room on Wednesday evenings to talk writing, answer questions, share news, victories and rejections, and get silly. Get very silly very often.

During one of these silly episodes, we somehow got the topic of zombies and cookbooks merged. On that day, publisher Kim Richards came up with the idea of an anthology The Zombie Cookbook. She asked us to contribute stories and I came up with "Wokking Dead," where zombie exterminator Neeta Lyffe deals with a zombie invasion of a Korean restaurant. It was silly fun, full of jokes and political satire and something I figured I'd never revisit again.

Then in a chat in December, Kim mentioned that someone asked her if they'd ever see a novel with Neeta Lyffe. In that chat we also started talking about reality TV, and someone shared what he thought was the greatest first line of a novel he'd read: They ate Jorgenson first. Those two ideas got my imagination going, and on the drive to whale watching on New Year's Day, I decided to play with the idea of Neeta training up new exterminators in a reality TV show in 2037.

It's turned out to be such fun, and Kim did ask, so I'm setting aside the others to finish this one. I'm averaging 1000 words a day, 4-5 days a week, so if I can keep the momentum, I'll finish in March. Then I'll try to rediscover Discovery and begin anew with Gapman.

So join me in my novel's journey with Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.

Here're a few lines from the opening scene:

They ate Jorgenson.

Dammit! Neeta thought. I was still training him.

The zombies were gnawing on his leg, his fine, tanned leg, while he screamed and blubbered and somehow still managed to make his surfer-blond hair flow effortlessly.

Not that anyone noticed. The zombies, contained unfed for the past week in the abandoned brewery, had more interest in his meat than his pelt. There were only eight, but was too many for a bunch of unwashed trainees, particularly with the idiot film crew hounding them and getting in the way. Around her, seven panicky apprentices screamed and flailed with their tools, forgetting everything she'd taught them over the past six weeks, while through their headpieces Dave shouted directions that had more to do with good drama than good tactics. One cameraman continued to film while another had abandoned his camera and had fallen to his knees vomiting.

Grunting, screaming, someone calling for her mother...

Wait, that was Neeta. And she wasn't calling; she was apologizing. She just knew Mom was spinning in her grave.

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